Celebrating Conversing Bricks

Please join us on Wednesday, December 5th 2012, 6:30 PM  @ Hostos Community College, to celebrate Hatuey Ramos-Fermin’s “Conversing Bricks” permanent public art installation. The installation was constructed from bricks sent by an anti-immigrant right wing organizations to those congressional representatives who voted against the legislation to build the wall between Arizona and Mexico. The artist repurposed the bricks by inviting immigrants to write their own messages on them and build a round table and a bench.

This event is part of BCA’s 1st Wednesday’s Bronx Culture Trolley.

The Serrano Report, Vol. IX, #11

In the Bronx

Unveiling Pro-Immigrant Art Made from Anti-Immigrant Bricks

Jose Serrano’s Newsletter reports

Last Saturday, Congressman Serrano joined Hostos Community College President Dr. Félix Matos Rodríguez, community leaders, and artist Hatuey Ramos-Fermín to unveil a the first part of a newly installed art feature at the Hostos Memorial Plaza. The Conversing Bricks installation, which is in the form of a “wall of hope”, is made from bricks that were sent to Members of Congress several years ago in an effort to convince them to build a wall on the U.S. – Mexico border. The bricks were collected and brought to the Bronx for use in a pro-immigrant art installation—turning their message of intolerance and division into one of hope and reconciliation. Soon, a “table of dialogue” art installation, made from the same bricks, will join the “Wall of Hope” in the plaza.

“I was so pleased to be invited to speak at this important community event, where we reaffirmed our commitment to immigrants’ rights, diversity, and community solidarity,” said Congressman Serrano. “This art installation takes the worst anti-immigrant messages, and turns them into the message of unity and dialogue; the best message that the immigrant-friendly Bronx has to offer. Here in the Bronx we celebrate immigrants, we defend them, we uplift them, and we welcome them. Our example—a community of immigrants and long-time citizens living together in peace and harmony—should be emulated around the nation. This ‘wall of hope’ and ‘table of dialogue’ will be a constant reminder to the Bronx and the nation as a whole that we are a country of diverse origins, and must be a place of tolerance through dialogue. I commend Hostos Community College, Bill Aguado, and artist Hatuey Ramos-Fermín for their work on this project and their dedication to the message that it contains.”

“A round table has no head or foot, no person who sits at it can claim a more important position than the other; thus making everyone equal, the table becomes a symbol of equality for all citizens regardless of their immigration status,”  said Hatuey Ramos-Fermín, the artist who carried out the installation.

The Conversing Bricks project emerged from a campaign waged by anti-immigrant groups that sent bricks to members of Congress who opposed the construction of a border wall between Mexico and the United States. The bricks were sent with messages like “Build a Wall,” “No to Illegals,” and “Secure our Borders.”  Of the thousands of bricks sent to Capitol Hill, 273 were donated for this project. For the past three years, community leaders worked to conceive the concept for Around the Table: Conversing Bricks, now shortened to simply, Conversing Bricks. The bricks are meant to become a public art installation in the form of a wall and a round table with the intention of transforming messages of intolerance into a site for dialogue on issues of citizenship, immigration, and human rights.

The Hostos Community College Memorial Plaza, a public gathering place for students and community members recalls and honors the passengers that died on November 12, 2001 en route to the Dominican Republic in American Airlines Flight 587. The Memorial Plaza includes a water-wall of polished granite inscribed with the names of all that perished.  Since its founding days Hostos Community College has welcomed students of all backgrounds. Community leaders felt that the Hostos Community College Memorial Plaza was the best site for the Conversing Bricks art installation.

Ramos-Fermín was awarded a grant from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Community Arts Development Fund for the public art project Conversing Bricks.

Unveiling Pro-Immigrant Art Made from Anti-Immigrant Bricks

In the Bronx

Unveiling Pro-Immigrant Art Made from Anti-Immigrant Bricks

Last Saturday, Congressman Serrano joined Hostos Community College President Dr. Félix Matos Rodríguez, community leaders, and artist Hatuey Ramos-Fermín to unveil a the first part of a newly installed art feature at the Hostos Memorial Plaza. The Conversing Bricks installation, which is in the form of a “wall of hope”, is made from bricks that were sent to Members of Congress several years ago in an effort to convince them to build a wall on the U.S. – Mexico border. The bricks were collected and brought to the Bronx for use in a pro-immigrant art installation—turning their message of intolerance and division into one of hope and reconciliation. Soon, a “table of dialogue” art installation, made from the same bricks, will join the “Wall of Hope” in the plaza.

“I was so pleased to be invited to speak at this important community event, where we reaffirmed our commitment to immigrants’ rights, diversity, and community solidarity,” said Congressman Serrano. “This art installation takes the worst anti-immigrant messages, and turns them into the message of unity and dialogue; the best message that the immigrant-friendly Bronx has to offer. Here in the Bronx we celebrate immigrants, we defend them, we uplift them, and we welcome them. Our example—a community of immigrants and long-time citizens living together in peace and harmony—should be emulated around the nation. This ‘wall of hope’ and ‘table of dialogue’ will be a constant reminder to the Bronx and the nation as a whole that we are a country of diverse origins, and must be a place of tolerance through dialogue. I commend Hostos Community College, Bill Aguado, and artist Hatuey Ramos-Fermín for their work on this project and their dedication to the message that it contains.”

“A round table has no head or foot, no person who sits at it can claim a more important position than the other; thus making everyone equal, the table becomes a symbol of equality for all citizens regardless of their immigration status,”  said Hatuey Ramos-Fermín, the artist who carried out the installation.

The Conversing Bricks project emerged from a campaign waged by anti-immigrant groups that sent bricks to members of Congress who opposed the construction of a border wall between Mexico and the United States. The bricks were sent with messages like “Build a Wall,” “No to Illegals,” and “Secure our Borders.”  Of the thousands of bricks sent to Capitol Hill, 273 were donated for this project. For the past three years, community leaders worked to conceive the concept for Around the Table: Conversing Bricks, now shortened to simply, Conversing Bricks. The bricks are meant to become a public art installation in the form of a wall and a round table with the intention of transforming messages of intolerance into a site for dialogue on issues of citizenship, immigration, and human rights.

The Hostos Community College Memorial Plaza, a public gathering place for students and community members recalls and honors the passengers that died on November 12, 2001 en route to the Dominican Republic in American Airlines Flight 587. The Memorial Plaza includes a water-wall of polished granite inscribed with the names of all that perished.  Since its founding days Hostos Community College has welcomed students of all backgrounds. Community leaders felt that the Hostos Community College Memorial Plaza was the best site for the Conversing Bricks art installation.

Ramos-Fermín was awarded a grant from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Community Arts Development Fund for the public art project Conversing Bricks.

“Wall of Hope” artwork at Hostos Community College

By TANYANIKA SAMUELS for the New York Daily News

Hundreds of bricks once used as anti-immigrant messages are finding a new artistic purpose in one of the borough’s most diverse communities.

Artist Hatuey Ramos-Fermín is creating a two-part art installation piece called “Conversing Bricks” at Hostos Community College in Mott Haven.

The installation uses bricks that anti-immigrant groups sent to Capitol Hill in 2006 as Congress debated building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to deter illegal immmigrants.

“I hope this project becomes a symbolic place for gathering, for conversations and a place for reflection,” said Ramos-Fermín, 33, of Mott Haven. “I want people to be able to reflect on how important immigrants are in this country, and in the Bronx.”

Thousands of bricks with slogans like “No to illegals” and “Secure our border” were sent to members of Congress who opposed the wall.

Congressman José E. Serrano collected 273 bricks and brought them back to the Bronx where they sat outside a local church.

“These bricks had nasty comments on them,” Serrano recalled. “So I came up with the idea to say ‘Why don’t I take these bricks and do just the opposite, and make them a tribute to all immigrants.’”

He partnered with Bill Aguado , now artistic director of the Bronx Heritage Music Center, who spearheaded the effort to create an art piece and find an artist.

“It’s a very genuine and respectful project,” Aguado said. “It speaks to our heritage, whether you’re from the islands or the South, it doesn’t matter. We are all immigrants and we need to learn to respect each other.”

Since the bricks were kept outside, the weather stripped away most of the messages. Only 30 of them remain in tact.

Ramos-Fermín held a series of workshops last month and asked local immigrants to include their own messages on the bricks.

“I saw it as a way to connect the history of the bricks,” Ramos-Fermín said. “You can see the past and the present side by side.”

Last Saturday, Ramos-Fermín, Serrano and Aguado joined others to dedicate the first phase of “Conversing Bricks,” a 4-foot tall wall in Hostos’ Memorial Plaza.

“Now we have a wall of hope rather than a wall of division,” Serrano said.

The second phase, to be dedicated this summer, will feature a roundtable using the remaining bricks.

“With a roundtable, there’s no head or foot. No one can claim more importance than another person,” Ramos-Fermín said. “So no matter your immigration status, you are all the same.”

[email protected]

 

Immigration Opponents’ Bricks Repurposed For A Respectful Bronx Artwork

 

By: Natasha Ghoneim for NY1

Immigration reform inspires passionate views, and hundreds of bricks sent to members of Congress to oppose amnesty have now formed a pro-immigrant artistic installation at Hostos Community College in the Bronx. NY1’s Natasha Ghoneim filed the following report.

During the heat of the immigration reform debate several years ago, people sent bricks to members of Congress, symbolizing support for building a wall along the Mexican border.

Scrawled on the bricks were messages such as “No Amnesty,” and a few bore the verbal equivalent of hurling a brick through a window.

Bronx Congressman Jose Serrano became angry and collected 273 bricks, which were transformed into an art installation at Hostos Community College in Mott Haven, Bronx.

“I was able to tell them, ‘You sent these to me in anger and I’m returning them to you in peace,'” says Serrano.

The artist, Hatuey Ramon-Fermin, who is also a teacher and an immigrant, wanted to transform the hate on the bricks into a more respectful dialogue through his artwork, entitled, “Conversing Bricks.”

“There were different kinds of messages that were really hateful,” says Ramon-Fermin.

Immigrants were involved in every step of the creative process, from transporting the bricks to the Bronx to writing messages of their own on the bricks.

“I wish that people reflect and go deeper into the conversation. We’re all a part of this country,” says Ramon-Fermin.

Alvaro Ceballos, a 19-year-old Dominican immigrant, says the message he painted on his brick, “We Are The World,” sums up the issue simply.

“Who immigrants are, we are the world because we’re here. So we are the world,” says Ceballos.

Now the bricks are part of another wall intended to celebrate immigrants, legal or not.

Un muro de tolerancia se alza en el Bronx.

POR: Carolina Ledezma / EDLP

 

El Bronx.- En 2006, grupos antiinmigrantes se unieron para enviar a congresistas en Washington más de 20,000 ladrillos con consignas en pro de la construcció n de un muro y otras medidas para reforzar la seguridad fronteriza.

 

Seis años después, en la plaza memorial del Hostos Community College (HCC) de El Bronx, 40 de esos bloques han sido transformados en un muro que simboliza la tolerancia y diálogo llamado “The Conversing Bricks”.

 

Su autor, el dominicano Hatuey Ramos-Fermín, lo concibió como un foro abierto para que “familias de inmigrantes expresen sus ideas sobre ciudadanía, inmigración y derechos humanos”.

 

Globalización y migración son temas constantes en la obra de este artista criado en Puerto Rico, quien recibió una subvención del Departamento de Asuntos Culturales de la Ciudad para acometer esta instalación.

 

Unos 273 ladrillos fueron traídos a la iglesia St. Jerome de El Bronx y allí permanecieron a la intemperie, cuenta el artista. Por eso muchos de los escritos se borraron.

 

Ramos-Fermín usó su experiencia como educador para que las personas de diferentes generaciones, nacionalidades y razas usaran su creatividad para intervenir los bloques.

“Nunca se sabe lo que otros harán y por eso me llevé muchas sorpresas”, explica sobre ciertas frases e imágenes conmovedoras que desde este 12 de mayo se podrán ver en la plaza universitaria.

 

“Uno de ellos es la imagen de un niño gritando a una pared con tanta fuerza, $si quisiera derrumbarla”, comenta el artista sorprendido por la pasión y la claridad del mensaje de quien hizo el dibujo.

 

The Conversing Bricks fue imaginada como una obra en constante transformación, que ciertamente reflejará la manera de pensar de la gente sobre estos temas y su evolución en el tiempo. Por eso, parte de la pared incluirá también ladrillos en blanco, en los que las personas podrán escribir en tiza sus mensajes.

 

“Voy a llevar un registro con fotos y videos de todos esos mensajes”, agrega Ramos-Fermín.

Para el autor no podría haber un mejor lugar para su obra que la plaza memorial. Este espacio es un lugar de encuentro para estudiantes y miembros de la comunidad, que honra la memoria de los 260 pasajeros que murieron en 2001 en el vuelo 587 de American Airlines, siniestrado en ruta hacia República Dominicana.